Irish Wholemeal Soda Bread


Yo Joe,

There’s a blue, rectangle button in the top right hand corner of my screen on the dashboard for this site. It has the word ‘Write’ on it. I’ve just pressed it and now I’m filling up this empty screen with words and, hopefully, a recipe. I haven’t pressed that button for a long time. But I’m back!

Let’s give our readers a lil update (I reckon we have a solid 18 now). I’ve moved back to Glasgow for uni and you’ve moved into a new house in London, released a new poetry pamphlet (find it here) and got your contract extended at work for another year. Big. And… Cake On My Face is now on Instagram (find it here), come and say hello!

My cute lil loaf

WOW too much writing. I want soda bread. Joe, this is the bread I was telling you to make the other day. The reason this recipe is magic is because, from start to finish, you get fresh bread in under an hour. Soda bread uses bicarbonate of soda to rise, instead of yeast. So, once all the ingredients are mixed it can go straight in the oven, rather than having to wait for the yeast in the dough to ferment.

This bread is quick, easy, makes your house smell like a bakery and is MMMM so good. Once I make a loaf of soda bread, I eat the whole thing in about an hour. I hope you do the same too.


  • 170g Wholemeal flour
  • 170g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 90g yoghurt
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Traditionally this bread is made with buttermilk. I always have milk and yoghurt in the fridge and this does the same thing as buttermilk but if you want to use the real deal you can find it in most supermarkets. Replace the yoghurt and milk with 290ml buttermilk.

I normally use brown sugar in this recipe, it gives a really nice colour to the loaf and a note of caramel (lol). You can just use standard granulated sugar though, and you wouldn’t be missing out on any ‘notes’.


Pre heat the oven to 200 and flour a baking tray, ready for your lil loaf.

Mix together your milk and yoghurt, set this aside.

In a large bowl, mix together all your dry ingredients. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in your yoghurt and milk mixture.

Stir it all together, you might need to get your hands involved to form it into a shaggy lump of dough.

Form the dough into the shape you want to bake it in and whack it on the baking tray.

Sprinkle flour over the top of your loaf and using a large knife, cut the loaf into quarters. This will help the loaf rise in the oven and make it ready to be ripped apart into perfect bread rolls once its baked.

Put it in the oven and bake for about 30 mins, if you want a darker colour leave it in for a bit longer.

Once you’ve taken it out of the oven wrap the loaf in a clean tea towel and allow to cool before eating. Wrapping the loaf in a tea towel will give you a moist, soft bread.


Love, Caitlin xx

Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Botany and Hello!


Dear Joe

Wheeeyy Cake On My Face is published!! This is a lil bit of an experiment, I’ve never written a blog before so lets see how this goes. Thought I would write it to you, Joe, because it feels very strange not knowing who you’re writing to, could be one person or could be 100…wow.

Yesterday I made Focaccia.

My focaccia garden boii

I love Mum’s fascination with weeds growing out of cracks in pavements, walls and at the side of ring roads. It’s also pretty amazing that she seems to know the name of all the weeds she finds. Yesterday we were on a walk together, I was ahead, I heard ‘Caito. Come try this’, mum handed me a small green leaf she had just picked, ‘what is it?’, ‘Garlic Mustard’. We walked on, eating some leaves that really did taste of garlic and mustard. She still uses that flower encyclopedia we got her for Christmas a couple years ago when she doesn’t know the name of a plant she finds. I’m not great at matching up names of plants with what they look like but I still love looking at weeds and flowers, their colour, smell and texture.

In tribute to mum’s impressive knowladge of flowers and my impressive ability to eat bread I decided to make a focaccia garden. I’d never made focaccia before but it’s my new fav bread, it’s one of the fastest breads to make and has been hailed ‘the most delicious bread’ by Celestine. You can top it with any flavour and any design so you can use this recipe to make your own focaccia creation…garden…allotment…jungle?



  • 400 g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g wholemeal bread flour, fine ground semolina or strong white bread flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 7 g dried yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon golden caster sugar
  • 300 ml lukewarm water
  • olive oil (as much as you want to put on your bread)


You can use whatever veg and herbs you have in your kitchen, but you need garlic. Here is what I used:

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 peppers, one red, one yellow
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 spring onions
  • handful of parsley
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • black sesame seeds


Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle like you are about to make pancakes. In a seperate bowl add the yeast and sugar into the lukewarm water and mix with a fork. Leave the yeast and water for a few mins until it sarts to foam. When you can see some foam on top of the water slowly pour it into the well you made in the flour mixture. Mix this with a fork.

Once the mixture comes together tip it onto a worksurface and get your hands involved. Knead vigorously for about 8 mins. You might want to add a little bit of flour onto the worksurface so the dough doesn’t stick, but try to use as little as possible. You want to end up with a smooth, springy dough.

Lightly oil a large bowl and pop the dough in it. Dust the top of the dough with flour and cover with a tea towel. Leave the bowl in a warm place (like in the 25 degree sun were having at the min) to prove for about half a hour. You want your dough to have doubled in size.

I’m loving my dough
With a lil bit of work…
Your dough can look like a boiled egg too

While the dough proves preheat the oven to 220 and prep your toppings.

Once the dough has risen, punch it to deflate the dough then spread it out onto a baking tray. Press your fingers down in the dough like your playing the piano to make lots of dips and wells in the dough. Arrange your toppings on the dough. Scatter some chopped garlic and rosemary, sprinkle some salt and drizzle a good amount of olive oil on the dough to finish.

Lay a tea towel over the dough and prove for another 20 mins. Then, bake for 20 mins or until golden on top and soft in the middle. If you can’t tell if the bread is done, tap it, if it sounds hollow its ready to come out.

Enjoy your focaccia and the sun, Caitlin xxxxxx